A homeless encampment in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis was cleared Wednesday after weeks of complaints from residents and just hours after three homes in the area burned down.
Police sources said the Minneapolis Police Department held all officers for the operation.
A vacant home on the 2800 block of 17th Avenue South, near the encampment, burned to the ground around 4 a.m. Wednesday morning. The fire spread to two neighboring homes and destroyed them both. The cause of the fire is still being investigated.
A person who lives near the homeless encampment and is “connected to the city of Minneapolis” reportedly had their home ransacked, according to Crime Watch Minneapolis.
In addition to the suspicious fires, we received pics of a home in the area of the encampment that was broken into and destroyed recently. The homeowner, who wants to remain anonymous, said they have evidence the break in is related to encampment. pic.twitter.com/zDofe1vRVV
— CrimeWatchMpls (@CrimeWatchMpls) July 20, 2022
Police cordoned off three city blocks surrounding the encampment Wednesday, making it difficult to observe the eviction. At least six garbage trucks were spotted driving in and out of the area.
Police at the scene said about 100 people were removed from the encampment.
Julie Wicklund, a Minneapolis resident who started a group called Safe Streets Now for a Better Tomorrow, said the encampment has been a growing problem over the past two months.
“Homes and cars shot up, garages broken into, tools taken, cars broken into and stolen, drug dealers everywhere and needles and dozens of kids who can’t be outside, people using residents’ water to bathe and wash their clothes. Hundreds of people coming down the alley to buy drugs. The city is the owner of the lot and they are knowingly violating the state nuisance law,” she said.
So-called “encampment responders” left posters around the city earlier this summer with threats against city workers who participate in evictions.
“You sweep? We strike!” the posters said alongside a graphic of a person holding a homemade incendiary device.
The creators of the poster left specific names of people they deem “eviction-enabling bureaucrats,” including Mayor Jacob Frey’s policy advisor and “many others with names and addresses.”
Alpha News reached out to Frey’s office and the police department but did not immediately hear back.